Going, Going, Gone!

October 12, 2018

Imagine buying a new toy only for it to self-destruct the moment you bought it. Well, it wasn’t a toy that self-destructed but a famous painting by a street artist named Banksy. Banksy is a mysterious artist for a number of reasons. To some, he’s a menace and not a true artist, whereas others believe that he’s one of the most ingenious artists of modern times. You see, no one really knows when one of his art pieces will show up—it’ll just randomly appear somewhere in a city, spray painted on the side of a building, on a sidewalk, or some other piece of property. One of his most famous pieces is titled, “Girl With Balloon.” It’s a spray-painted art piece of a little girl looking up at a floating red heart balloon. It’s one of Banksy’s most popular pieces, and the original painting went up for auction recently. It proved to be quite popular, with the winner bidding nearly $1.4 million for the iconic artwork!

Replica of Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” art piece that was spray-painted on the wall of a building in the South Bank district of London in 2002.

But before the winner could even take it off the auction block, the painting started to self-destruct. Yes, we said self-destruct! To the surprise of the auctioneer and everyone else in the room, the painting started sliding down through what seemed to be an invisible shredder. Although people were clearly shocked and some even disappointed, others said that it was one of the smartest moves ever made by an artist. By shredding his painting, he actually increased the value of it. Some art experts believe that the shredded version of the painting is now worth even more—after all, it was the artist himself who folded yet another element of contemporary art into an already significant art piece. Well, it was later revealed on Banksy’s Instagram account that he had planted a shredder in the frame of the painting on the off-chance that it was ever sold at auction. After the shredding, Banksy posted on Instagram: “Going, going, gone … “ A few days later, the auction house confirmed that the painting was indeed sold and renamed, “Love is in the Bin.”

So, was this the biggest prank ever to be achieved by an artist, or was there a larger purpose to the shredding? Was the shredding of the painting another layer of contemporary artistry? What do you think?